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June 19, 2013

Dangers of Distracted Driving—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown (jcoben@hsc.wvu.edu).

JAMA. 2013;309(23):2436-2437. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.6011

In Reply: Mr Teater suggests that legislation, even without effective enforcement, will modify driver behavior and that enforcement practices will eventually catch up with the laws. Prior research has demonstrated that active enforcement is important to reduce unsafe driving behavior. Seat belt law experience has revealed that belt use increases shortly after the law implementation but decreases without active and sustained enforcement.1 Similarly, roadside observational studies have demonstrated either no change in driver handheld phone use following legislative bans2 or only transient effects that fade over the long-term without active enforcement.3